Cheese straws

Photographer: Emma

My Mum grew up in small-town New Zealand.   She lived in a wee place called Inglewood which is near a (slightly) bigger place called Stratford which is near a place called New Plymouth, New Zealand’s 11th biggest city.  Mum is always on the go. She is always occupied with one project or another, the latest being her Ukulele band.  Mum’s passion for playing the Ukulele was borne at around the same time as her passion for cooking.  Not one for doing things in halves, Mum, at the tender age of about 10 took out the town baking competition.  She out-baked the local grandma’s, creaming, mixing and whisking her way to number one, all by hand!

Whatever Mum turns her hand to she excels at, and these cheese straws are no exception.  I have fond memories of Mum baking these for special occasions.  She handled the dough only as much as was necessary resulting in light, flaky straws flecked with salty parmesan cheese.

A word of warning – these are addictive!


100g flour
100g butter
100g parmesan cheese (or any other cheese you have on hand)
½ tsp chilli flakes
S&P to taste
1 egg yolk


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C on bake.
2. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the chilli flakes, salt and pepper and then cheese and mix to combine. Lastly add the egg yolk and stir it through with the blade of a knife.
3. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour, roughly shape the dough into a rectangle and roll it out to a thickness of about 5mm. Cut the pasty up into strips approximately 1cm thick and place on a lined baking tray and bake for 6-7 minutes or until cheese straws are golden.